How Fast Can You Go?
Car makers have figured out that 500 mile range is less important for EV shoppers if they can charge really fast. The new generation of electric cars are built with this in mind - fast charge speeds are now a selling point on many new models: 2022 Hyundais and Kias offer shockingly fast charge speeds for their mid-priced electrics.
There are a few factors that control how fast an EV can charge, and the surprising thing is that the charger itself isn’t the main one.
Electricity from the grid is delivered in what’s called “alternating current” (AC). EVs use “direct current” (DC) electricity. In order to convert AC to DC, EVs have something called an “on-board charger.” This is the main limiting factor in charge speed, since all on-board chargers are rated to accept a maximum speed. As a quick reminder, when we talk about electricity, the rate is measured in kW, while the capacity is measured in kWh. This can be confusing, so it bears repeating.
In recent years, the standard on-board charger for new EVs has become 11 kW, while even a few years ago, 7 kW was considered standard. Cars like the Audi e-tron made a splash when they offered an optional 22 kW on-board charger as an upgrade in 2020.
Other considerations when it comes to charge speed are the amps (short for amperes, which is the rate of electric current) coming from the wall to the EV - these are often 32 amps, which add around 20-25 miles an hour, or 48 amps, which can add almost 40 miles an hour. However, more amps will not do anything if your car itself can only receive 32 amps. Each model will have its max.
Public charging stations generally fall into one of two types: Level 2 or Level 3. As a quick reminder, Level 2 is generally 220-240 volts of alternating current (AC), the same as a home washer/dryer hookup. Public level 2 chargers often have slightly higher amperage than those you can install at home, and can add 20 - 45 miles an hour.
The other type of charger you’ll find at a public station is a level 3, or DC fast charger. This is the fire hose of EV recharging. They deliver direct current, which means the car can recharge much faster. They are generally 400-440 volts, but the newest ones are capable of 800 volts. For older EVs, fast charging was often an add-on or an upgrade available with certain trim levels, but it is now an expected, standard feature. Hybrids are not usually compatible with fast chargers.
The limits on DC fast charging include another factor: the car’s battery management system. Since DC fast chargers deliver so much electric current, they have the potential to damage an EV battery. However, there is a lot of hardware and software built into the car (battery management system, or BMS) to protect the battery from damaging current, and the car can throttle charge speeds to do so. For instance, when the battery is very cold, the BMS will prevent fast charging in order to prevent possible lithium plating. The BMS also restricts charge speeds when the battery state of charge is very low or very high - when the battery is more susceptible to damage from high current. This is why DC fast charge speeds are often given from 10% - 80% - below 10% or above 80%, speeds are usually curtailed.
Since car manufacturers have realized that charge speed matters, they have been advertising them to customers. However, like with everything else EV, YMMV from what they claim. Factors like outside temperature, the amps available from the grid, your state of charge, and the kW of the charger may change how long it takes you to fill up.
Charging Speed Examples
In order to get a glimpse into some real world examples of charging speeds, it’s important to look at specific EV models and understand their differences. Each EV brand and model has unique capacity. See below for findings on the following electric vehicles:
- Ford Mustang Mache
- 2019 - 2021 Audi e-tron
- Hyundai Kona
- Chevy Bolt
- Jaguar I-Pace
- 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
- 2022 Kia EV6
- VW ID.4
- Nissan LEAF
If you have a vehicle you’d like us to cover, or additional information about the charging speed of one of these models - please shoot us an email! We’d love community input to collect this data.
The on-board charger speed for Teslas is 11.5 kW, and 7.7 kW for the Model 3 RWD, so EV shoppers can achieve up to 44 miles of range per hour charged right at home. On average, it takes 12.5 hours to fully charge a 2022 Tesla from home using a standard 240V charger, though the charging times range between 8-15 hours depending on the model. For example, it takes 8 hours to charge the 2022 Tesla Model Y RWD and 15 hours for the 2022 Tesla Model S. Difference in battery size will affect charge time.
At Level 3 (DC charging, or supercharging), Teslas can charge up to an astounding 200 miles in 15 minutes.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s electric compact SUV, has Level 2 charge speed of 10.5 kW and 20 miles per hour. At Level 3, the Mach-E can charge up to 80% in less than 45 minutes at speeds of 150 kW. However, drivers have noted that their Mach-Es don’t stay at the 150 kW peak charge speed for very long, and going from 80% to 100% can take up to an hour.
2019 - 2021 Audi e-tron
For Level 2 charging, the Audi e-tron has a 11 kW on-board charger, or optional upgrade to 22 kW, averaging 8 (or 5) hours to charge up to 80%. At a 150 kW Level 3 charger, the e-tron can charge up to 80% in just 30 minutes. For public locations with 50 kW DC chargers, the e-tron averaged a 70 minute charging time from 20% to 80% battery power.
The e-tron has improved greatly since 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 models boasting quicker at-home charging times than the 2019 model, though the miles per gallon remains similar.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona has the potential to travel 258 miles on a single charge. At a Level 2 charger, the Hyundai Kona is equipped to handle 7.2 kW, charging from 10% to 100% in an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes.
At Level 3, the Kona can charge up to 80% in only 54 minutes, at 50kW. One unique feature of the Kona is that the charging port is in the front grille area. This allows for EV owners to seamlessly charge their Kona in the head-in parking position.
Prior to 2022, the Chevy Bolt had a charge speed of 7.2 kW for Level 2. Beginning in 2022, the Bolt upgraded to 11 kW, dropping the charge time to only 7 hours. Using a DC charger at Level 3, the Bolt can accommodate a charging rate of 55 kW, averaging 100 miles within 30 minutes. It takes about one hour to charge a 2022 Bolt from empty to 80% using a DC charger.
Starting with the 2022 model, the Jaguar I-Pace has an 11 kW on-board charger. Prior to 2022, it was only 7 kW. These improvements resulted in the ability to charge the I-Pace up to 80% in under 10 hours, compared with 13 hours prior to 2022.
For Level 3, the I-Pace boasts a charge rate of 100 kW, charging up to 80% in a mere 40 minutes, or up 63 miles per 15 minutes. On 100% charge, I-Pace owners can expect a range of about 222 miles.
For Level 2 charging, Rivian can get up to 11.5 kW. For Level 3, Rivian boasts charging up to 140 miles in 20 minutes, at 210 kW. While we don’t have a lot of on-the-road experience with the R1T just yet, it covered 317 miles on Edmunds' real-world EV range loop, surpassing its EPA-estimated range of 314 miles with 3 miles to spare.
Rivian is on a mission to install over 10,000 Level 2 chargers across the United States and Canada, powered by 100% renewable energy.
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
For Level 2 chargers, the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 offers a 11 kW on-board charger, refilling up to 100% in under 6 hours. For Level 3, the Ioniq 5 has been making waves with an incredible 10% to 80% charge in 18 minutes, averaging 68 miles per 5 minutes.
The IONIQ 5 takes its eco-friendliness to the next level, offering eco-conscious mobility solutions and sustainable interior design elements with lower environmental impact.
2022 Kia EV6
The Kia EV6 shares a lot with the Hyundai Ioniq 5. For Level 2 charging, the 2022 Kia EV6 also has a 11 kW charger, which gets you to 100% in under 6 hours. For Level 3, using at least a 250 kW charger, the EV6 charges up to 70 miles per every 5 minutes, suggesting a leap from 10% to 80% charged in 18 minutes.
Kia’s compact EV6 averages over a 300-mile charge and even comes with a charging port for your electric bike or portable wine cooler when you are exploring outside or camping.
Photo: Kia EV6 charging guide
At Level 2, Volkswagen’s ID.4’s 11 kW charger takes an estimated 7.5 hours to recharge. At Level 3, the ID.4 battery charges from 0 to 80% in just 38 minutes. The last 20% of charging time for the DC fast charging battery takes a bit longer to reach full capacity, as is standard to protect the lithium batteries in EVs.
This is VW’s first electric five-door SUV. The ID.4 battery sizes range from 52 kWh to 77 kWh, and the EPA-estimated range is a healthy 323 miles.
Photo: Volkswagen ID.4
The Nissan LEAF has celebrated over 10 years on the market. At Level 2, the Nissan LEAF chargers range from 3.6 to 6.6 kW, depending on the model, which is under the 2022 market standard of 11 kW. However, the older LEAFs that have particularly slow on-board chargers also have smaller batteries, meaning that it still takes between 7 - 12 hours to charge at Level 2.
Even early model years of the LEAF had DC fast charging available for the SL and SV trims, but it topped out at 50 kW. The more contemporary LEAFs still get 50 kW DC charging, or 100 kW if you have bought the bigger battery (62 kWh; the LEAF Plus). You can charge a Nissan LEAF in 40-60 minutes at Level 3.
This list wouldn't be complete without a word about public charger etiquette. If you’re at a public charging station, you’re likely to see a range of charging speeds available - usually 50 kW - 350 kW. If you’re trying to recharge your Chevy Bolt, using anything above 55 kW will not speed up your charge time, but it may prevent a Ioniq 5 driver from filling up her car as quickly as possible. The takeaway: use the charger most appropriate for your car, whenever possible. Being a good electric citizen makes the community stronger.